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A 5-day retreat in Thailand to explore, find beauty and power in your emotional landscape

Using The Self-Portrait Experience, Elephant Therapy, Body Renew and Transformational Art Therapy, by Cristina Nu単ez and Amyra Mah


HIGHER SELF is a 5-day retreat at a magical, enchanted nature resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to heal your self-image and let your inner beauty blossom, through the use of the Photographic Self-portrait, Elephant Therapy, Body Renew, Transformational Art Therapy, Meditation, Breathwork, Thai Massage and Practice of Silence while enjoying the rejuvenating effects and natural beauty in the resort’s amazing surroundings. Each of these therapies allow you to work on different aspects of yourself, empowering your self-image, stimulating your inner evolution, raising your selfesteem, regenerating and pampering your body. The innovative combination of these therapies will give you a 360º experience, helping you to discover your Creative Self or Higher Self, the purest expression of your Authentic Self.


Cristina Nuñez is a Spanish artist-photographer whose work has been published and exhibited internationally. She created this method from her personal experience, using the photo self-portrait as a sort of self-therapy since 1988, after her troubled adolescence as a heroin addict. The method’s goal is the exploration of one’s own identity and the stimulation of the creative process through a series of exercises and the use of specific artistic criteria for the intuitive perception and choice of the artworks. Since 2005, Nuñez has divulged her method holding workshops and conferences in universities, companies, galleries, museums, photography schools, prisons and mental health institutions in Italy, Spain, Finland, United States, Canada, Luxemburg and the UK.


- The Self-Portrait Experience allows anyone to intensely experiment the creative process and, under the artist’s guidance, learn to convert emotions and pain into art, a truly cathartic and liberating process. - In the self-portrait work we are, at the same time, author, subject and spectator. The powerful dynamics between the three roles push our Creative Self to “speak” with the language of art and iconology. - Being in front of the camera lens stimulates a dialogue between our thinking mind and our “guts” to attain from an inexhaustible source of issues which need to be expressed. - We learn to dialogue with the images in-depth, using specific artistic criteria for the perception and choice of the works. - Sharing this intimate process with others is extremely stimulating and helps the author/subject realize that he is, like the artist, a speaker for others.


STIMULATE OUR CREATIVE IDENTITY Learning how to trigger the creative process using our emotions. Learning how to perceive images in-depth using specific artistic criteria. Learning how to make images dialogue with each other. Learning how to start our autobiographical project. CONTRIBUTE TO IMPROVE OUR INNER IMAGE Allowing us to discover our strengths and qualities. Stimulating self-awareness. Activating thought processes which are necessary for our evolution. CONTRIBUTE TO IMPROVE OUR PUBLIC IMAGE Allowing others to see our strengths and qualities. Stimulating a new aperture towards relationships with others. Activating group sharing and collaboration.

how it works

Individual self-portrait sessions: Each participant, alone in the professional photography studio set up on site, takes a series of collaborative self-portraits, reacting to Nuñez’s instructions on the expression of emotions. Then Nuñez will guide the participant on the perception and selection of the images, helping them to see their points of strength and to discover their Higher Self. Each individual session lasts 45 minutes. Group work: Participants work in small groups on the perception and choice of the works produced during the sessions, following the given artistic criteria and storytelling. Then the small groups share the work they have done with the whole group.

what do you get from the experience?

A methodology which allows you to explore the multiplicity of your personal and creative identity, producing art using your emotions, to improve self-awareness and self-acceptance and to discover your own personal epic and your own natural charisma. You learn to perceive images in depth, not only your own, an essential competency nowadays. An intense and essential experience which often creates significant relationships. A series of collaborative self-portraits of the highest artistic quality. For therapists, an innovative method to use in their practice.


Elephant Therapy is an innovative form of therapy tapping into the natural healing powers of interacting with an elephant at close range. The session is conducted in a conservation centre that rehabilitates elephants recovering from trauma and addiction. Each participant is assigned an elephant and its mahout who will assist you with the process of learning to ride on the animal (without the harnessed seat typically used in tourist elephant rides). Participants learn to overcome their fears, embrace change and generally feel safer in the world when confronting a large, formidable animal such as the elephant. The gentle, altruistic nature of the elephant as well as its ability to connect with humans on an emotional level help participants increase their selfesteem by recognising their self-worth. It also facilitates their ability to build healthy relationships.

Participants often find parallels between what emerges from their interaction with their elephant and what is taking place in their lives – increasing awareness of their tendencies in behaviours and attitudes. The session is also an opportunity for limiting patterns to be broken and more empowering attitudes/behaviours to be adopted. It helps in building trust, patience and communication skills. Our Elephant Therapy contains a strong spiritual focus. Many participants report having spiritual awakenings from the sessions. Many aspects of the therapy can facilitate a connection to spiritual power. When participants learn to trust and be trusted by an elephant, they are reminded that they are part of something bigger than just “me and my problems”. Furthermore, the non-verbal communication between participant and elephant usually bypasses the ego or defended part of the individual – encouraging communication to flow from heart to heart, soul to soul.

Course’s Objectives and Benefits

Holistically, interacting with elephants yield positive effects on the four quadrants of an individual: lowering blood pressure, easing depession, improving mental stimulation, brightening emotional outlook, and promoting spiritual awareness.

Whole-body communication Social tolerance Behaviour modification Self-esteem Self-worth Empowerment Self-control Self-confidence Sincerity of intention Working in partnership

Building healthy relationships Learning to trust The power of surrender Humility Exercising courage Promoting closeness Responsibility Love and compassion Emotional bonding


Body Renew is the self-empowerment system created by Amyra Mah – utilizing Movement, Breathwork and the power of imagination to facilitate a range of psycho-spiritual processes. It emphasises the practice of Presence, Power and Passion to maintain a consciousness that supports self-renewal. Body Renew enhances self-image and promotes joyful, self-loving expression as participants are guided to get in touch with their inner self. It has been proven to be highly effective in alleviating symptoms of depression, low self-confidence, creative blocks, disempowerment and insecurity. Body Renew blends physical exercises with the healing arts, psycho-spiritual processes and mystical practices to reconnect clients to their innate powers to create, heal and grow. It is based on the premise that self-fulfilment comes when we learn to transform our perceived negative experiences into a source of empowerment: by tapping into our inner alchemical powers, we have the power to renew ourselves on every level of our being.


A non-traditional form of creative therapy developed by Amyra Mah that takes participants through the process of discovering parts of themselves that are hidden from them, and gently making the necessary changes to reconcile their internal conflicts. Through this, they learn to tap into their personal power to take control of their lives. The emphasis is not to demonstrate artistic skills but to bring clients to a deeper awareness of where they are in life. Unlike most traditional art therapy where the work of a client is interpreted by the therapist, we work from the premise that what a client expresses is totally subjective and unique to their experience. Therefore, we work with subjective meanings rather than collective meanings of colours, strokes, etc. – although at times it may be appropriate to suggest general associations to certain symbolisms that are presented. Using a variety of art media, such as objects of nature, acrylics, charcoal pastels, plasticine, watercolour, fruits and vegetables, each session is a workshop that will shift the participants to a transformed place.


One of the most appealing elements of Northern Thailand is the peaceful aura that flows from the fundamentally Buddhistic culture and practices in its communities. In the 5-Day Higher Self Retreat, we incorporate the practice of silence, inspired by the Vipassana Buddhist silence retreats, into the programme. Practising silence is a powerful way to deepen into our truth by transcending the ego-ic mind. Being silent removes the distractions and input from the external world so that we focus internally. In the absence of what other people say, don’t say, do or don’t do, we are free from the influence of others, allowing us to reach a deeper awareness of our truth. In this space, a profound insight may be presented, a solution to a problem found, an inspiration sparked. Emotions that have been buried may arise to be acknowledged. An internal conflict that has been causing us pain and a problem in our outer world may reconcile itself. Silence allows us to listen to the voice of our soul. We have the most powerful source of guidance inside us but the messages are often polluted, distorted or drowned. Practising silence enables us to hear the whispers of our soul.


DAY 1 (5th Jan 2014 – Sunday) Arrive and check-in by lunch-time Lunch Group Introduction Presentation by C. Nunez & A. Mah Relaxation – massage, swim ‘Self-Portrait Without Me’ Dinner Journalling or sharing/processing by fireplace DAY 2 (6th Jan 2014 – Monday) Body Renew Breakfast According to schedule: I. Individual self-portrait session, or II. Transformational Art Therapy According to schedule: I. Individual self-portrait session, or II. Transformational Art Therapy Meditation / breathwork Dinner Journalling or sharing/processing by fireplace

DAY 3 (7th Jan 2014 – Tuesday) Body Renew Breakfast Self-portrait group work – presentations by groups Lunch Self-portrait group work – presentations by groups II Relaxation - massage, swim Dinner Journalling or sharing/processing by fireplace DAY 4 (8th Jan 2014 – Wednesday) Breakfast (Day out at the Elephant Sanctuary) Elephant Therapy Lunch Elephant Therapy Dinner Journalling or sharing/processing by fireplace DAY 5 (9th Jan 2014 – Thursday) Body Renew Group session – integration Celebratory Lunch Departure

VENUE HIGHER SELF THAILAND RETREAT is held in a magical, enchanted nature resort about an hour from Chiang Mai city. Set in a verdant jungle, surrounded by mountains and offering spectacular scenery, it is an ideal location for nature lovers. A rock-filled stream running through the resort, waterfalls and little fountains from the ground create a background of soothing sounds of rambling water – immersing guests in a rejuvenating environment day and night. The charming, beautifully designed lodges are built with careful consideration to preserving the beauty of the nature, using materials that blend with the natural surroundings. There are many nooks and cranies on the grounds to explore for just the right spot to sit down for contemplation, yet also lots of open field for outdoor activities, including a number of campfire sites. Facilities include a restaurant, spacious meditation hall, yoga sala, and massage room. Accommodation for Retreat Participants Each participant occupies a single occupancy accommodation with private bathroom. We do not offer shared rooms. We believe it is important for participants to have their own private space in order to listen in, process and reconnect with themselves during the retreat. Creating spaciousness within is a focus of our retreats, and can be facilitated by spaciousness surrounding the person. We can, however, provide shared accommodation for couples.

Rooms are equipped with: Single beds or double bed Meshed window screens to keep bugs out Lounge or living area Balcony with sitting area Ensuite bathroom Hot shower Bathrobes and slippers Soap and shampoo Towels Wireless internet Big screen TV with cable channels DVD player Refridgerator Bottled water Water kettle Coffee and tea Laundry and housekeeping services

CRISTINA NUÑEZ Born in Figueras (Spain) in 1962, Cristina Nuñez is an award-winning artist-photographer whose work has been published and exhibited internationally. Following a troubled adolescence with drugs, Cristina Nuñez has been taking selfportraits since 1988 as a form of self-therapy, to explore her personal and creative identity and to raise her self-esteem, especially in moments of crisis. In 2007 she started to put together her project SOMEONE TO LOVE, her autobiography in selfportraits, family pictures, video and text. In 2005 Nuñez built THE SELF-PORTRAIT EXPERIENCE®, her own method to expore one’s own inner life using the self-portrait, with guidelines for an intuitive perception and choice of the works. Since 2005 Nuñez teaches her self-portrait method in workshops and conferences in galleries, museums, fine art accademies, prisons, mental health centers, untiversities. Her works have been shown at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, at the Casino of Luxemburg, at the Mois de la Photo in Montreal, at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, at Palazzo Reale in Milan, at the Centre Nationale de l’Audiovisuel in Luxemburg, at the Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea in Cinisello Balsamo, at The Private Space Gallery and H2O Gallery in Barcelona, at Peri Photographic Centre in Turku and at the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki.

Awards and grants 2013 – But Beautiful obtains the Prix de la Critique 2013, Voies Off Festival, Arles. 2013 – Nuñez obtains the prize Premio Ora, with the gallery Sponge Arte Contemporanea, in Pesaro. 2012 - La Caixa Obra Social, project Self-Portraits in Barcelona’s prison Lledoners 2012 – her video Someone to Love wins the Celeste Prize 2012. 2012 – OSIC, Office for the Support of Cultural Initiative, Catalan Government, for the exhibition Someone to Love at H2O gallery in Barcelona and Luova gallery in Helsinki and books But Beautiful and Higher Self. 2011 – CONCA, Council of the Arts and Culture of the Catalan Government, for the exhibition Someone to Love at the Mois de la Photo of Montreal 2011. 2010 - La Caixa Obra Social, project Self-Portraits in Barcelona’s prison Brians 2010 – Finalist/honourable mention, Interim No.1 of the New York Photo Awards. 1996 – Mosaique, CNA Luxemburgo, project Heaven on Earth. 1994 –Fondazione Studio Marangoni, Florence, project Body & Soul. Selected one person exhibitions 2013 - La Vie en Rose and Someone to Love, video and performance, Editions Limités, Galerie du 4 Septembre, Arles. 2013 – La Vie en Rose, video première and performance, Effearte gallery, Milan. 2012 – Someone to Love, Luova gallery, Helsinki 2012 – Someone to Love, H2O gallery, Barcelona

2011 – Someone to Love, video preview, H2O gallery, Barcelona 2011 – Someone to Love, Skol Centre des Arts Actuels, Mois de la Photo de Montreal. 2010 – Higher Self, The Private Space Gallery, Barcelona 2008 – I am a teenager, Polifemo, La Fabrica del Vapore, Milan (curator) 2007 – Young Italian Gentle Men, Spazio Private Larusmiani, Milan 2000 – I am, Galeria Franca Speranza, Milan 1998 –To Hell and Back - Risiera di San Sabba, Trieste 1997 – To Hell and Back: Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Biblioteca Nazionale, Turin; Palazzo Reale, Milan; Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, 1995 - Body & Soul, Fondazione Studio Marangoni, Florence Selected group exhibitions 2013 – But Beautiful, projection at Voies Off Festival, Arles. 2013 - video Someone to Love and the book But Beautiful, The Flood Wall II, Berlin. 2012 - video Someone to Love, Celeste Prize 2012, Centrale Montemartini, Rome. 2012 – video Someone to Love, Social Photo Fest, Piombino & Perugia. 2012 – video Someone to Love, Les Nuits Photographiques, Rencontres d’Arles. 2012 – video Someone to Love, Les Nuits Photographiques, Paris. 2011 – 2000 & 11 Self-Portraits, Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki. 2011 – 2000 & 11 Self-Portraits, European Capital of Culture 2011, Turku. Peri Photography Centre. 2011 – Higher Self, “Second Lives: Jeux Masqués et Autres Je”, Casino of

Luxemburg. 2010-11 – Grandi e Piccole, Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello Balsamo. 2010 – Io mi vedo così: Autoritratti Fotografici, Centro Fotografia d’Autore, Bibbiena. 2010- Foto d’Autrice, Galleria Bel Vedere, Milan. 2009- The Self-Portrait Experience, Festival FotoGrafia, Rome. 2008 – De L’Europe, CNA Luxemburg. 2006-2007 – Il Sole nelle Mani, Bariphotocamera. 2004-6 - Tales from a Globalized World, Krakow, Vienna, Dhaka, United Nations, New York, Zurich, Chiasso, Geneva. 2005 – Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent, Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris. 2003- Quotidiano al Femminile, Galleria del Credito Valtellinese, Milan. 2003 – Tales from a Globalized World, 2002- The Spirit of Religion, Photocenter Skopelos. 1999- Papa, Maman, Chateau de Nyon. 1998 – Images du Monde Interieur, Rencontres Internationales, Arles. 1996-Il Ritratto, un’Evoluzione, Breracult, Milano, curated by Photology, Milan. Personal books 2013 – But Beautiful, Le Caillou Bleu, Brussels. 2013 – Higher Self, The Self-Portrait Experience, Le Caillou Bleu, Brussels. 2010 – Someone to Love, The Private Space Books, Barcelona.

2006- Young Italian Gentle Men, Valentina Edizioni, Milan. 2000 – Io Sono (I am), Dianova, Milan. 1997 - All’Inferno e Ritorno (To Hell and Back), Art&, Udine, Italy. Collective books 2012 – Il corpo solitario. Rubettino, Soveria Mannelli. 2011 - 2000&11 Self-Portraits, European Capital of Culture, Turku, Finland. 2011 - Lucidity, Inward Views, Mois de la Photo de Montreal. 2008 – De L’Europe, CNA Luxembourg, Dudelange. 2007 – Il Sole nelle Mani, Bariphotocamera, Motta Editore, Milan. 2005- Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent, Editions du Chène, Paris. 2003- Tales from a Globalized World, Thames & Hudson, London. 2003- Quotidiano al Femminile, Peliti Associati, Rome. 2001 – The Spirit of Religion, Skopelos, Greece. 1999 – Paradise, ed. Steidl, Germany. 1997 - Europa, Encontros de Fotografia de Coimbra, Portugal. 1996 - Vita da Bambino, Art&, Udine, Italy. Collections Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris Centre Nationale de l’Audiovisuel, Dudelande, Luxembourg Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Cinisello Balsamo.

SDC, Ministry of Forgeign Affairs, Switzerland. Camera di Commercio di Bari. H2O gallery, Barcelona. The Private Space gallery, Barcelona. Workshops The Self-Portrait Experience (2005 – 2013) European Capital of Culture 2011-Turku, Museum of Contemporary PhotographyCinisello Balsamo, SKOL -Centre des Arts Actuels -Mois de la Photo de Montreal 2011, Casino of Luxemburg, The Private Space Gallery-Barcelona, Consarc Gallery-Chiasso, Forma-International Centre of Photography-Milan, Luova gallery-Helsinki, MC2 gallery, Brians 1 prison, Wad Ras prison-Barcelona, San Vittore prison-Milan, University of Roehampton, University of Northampton, University of Luxemburg, New York University, University of Turku, University of Barcelona, University of Girona, University of Bicocca, Catholic University of Milan, University of Bologna, Turku Academy of Arts, Domus Academy of Fashion and Design, Tampere University Hospital-Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ASL Mental Health Centre-Lucca, Nou Barris Mental Health Day Hospital-Barcelona, SERT-Public Service for Drug Addictions-Palermo, Housing Works, Women Health Centre-Brooklyn, Institute for the Arts in PsychotherapyNew York, Ariele, psychotherapy association, Philo-school for psychological practices, Ispa-art-therapy school, Institute of Family Therapy-Florence, Erich Fromm Institute-Bologna, Sistema Counseling-Milan, Kastu School-Turku, Raunistula School-Turku, Waldorf School-Milan, SDA Bocconi-leadership training-

Milan, Marketing Forum-Milan, Mida-leadership training, Watson Wyattleadership training-Milan, Future Concept Lab-Milan, Saatchi & Saatchi-Milan, Italfondiario-leadership training-Milan and Rome, Danone Italy-leadership training-Milan, Banca del Mezzogiorno-leadership training, Spazio LabòBologna, Citilab-Cornellà, Bottega Immagine-Milan, Social Photo Fest-Perugia, Links: Cristina Nuñez’s Vimeo channel: Check videos “Someone to Love” (the artist’s autobiography in self-portraits, and “Higher Self”, her method and philosophy) Cristina Nuñez’s Issuu profile, with her press dossier and workshop dossier: Check Cristina Nuñez’s new books But Beautiful (Prix de la Critique 2013 Voies Off, Arles) and Higher Self, at


Amyra Mah is an intuitive counsellor, addiction therapist and spiritual coach who is passionate about empowering people to rise to their magnificence. She specializes in helping clients to transform their blocks and challenges into a source of power and joy. Her own personal struggles with addictions, depression and body image issues has led her to personal triumph and a dedication to use the life knowledge she has amassed in her own healing to guide others in their quest for personal awareness and wholeness. Today, she provides cognitive/psychological as well as spiritual tools – through working with movements, breathwork, creative processes, symbolism, nature – to guide them to find their personal power, spiritual meaning and a profound sense of comfort within. Amyra is the creator of Body Renew, the personal empowerment system where body movements, breathwork and the power of imagination are concurrently exercised for selfrenewal.

As an addiction therapist, Amyra specializes in helping clients address deep emotional issues behind addictive behaviours and reconcile the internal conflicts that drive them to self-abusive lifestyles. She is experienced in creating, managing and delivering addiction programs in several international treatment centres in Thailand where she has successfully helped hundreds of individuals in their recovery from addictions, obsessive behaviours and dysfunctional patterns. Her warmth and sensitivity when working with clients often instill trust in those who struggle with complex emotional issues. Amyra has a BA from Monash University, Australia. She had 15 years of experience in the communications field – media, marketing, training, coaching and writing – before successfully creating her Life Work by combining her passions for spirituality, dance, creativity, coaching, human behaviour and personal transformation. She has lived and worked in Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, U.K. and Thailand. Links:


Retreat price: USD 2,700 Includes accommodation, meals, and all therapy sessions and treatments in the programme. Included in the package: 5D/4N Single occupancy in private room accommodation. All meals, a mixture of local and international cuisine (we accommodate special dietary requirements, within reason). All individual and group therapy sessions and treatments in the Programme. Elephant Therapy 2 X 1.5 hour traditional Thai Massage. Transport from Chiang Mai to resort on the first day; from resort to Chiang Mai upon check-out. Art supplies.

Early bird registration: 10% discount = USD 2,400 for those who register by November 1st, 2013. Payment Terms Participants are required to pay a deposit of 50% of the retreat price upon booking and the remainder upon checking in. The deposit is non-refundable in the event of cancellation or no-show by the participant. For information and registration, please email

HIGHER SELF, a self-portrait retreat in Thailand